Good Morning Everyone
Today we will continue on with our text in our series "Forgetting what is behind". This morning we will start with "we cannot live in the past". When we remember things in our past, they usually consist of happy thoughts or bad thoughts. It is ok to revisit old memories at times and even normal to do so, but when we do we come face to face with memories that can be either unpleasant or happy ones. it is never good overall to live in our past for very long as we need to be looking ahead and not back. There is no growth in lingering in our past, it is in our future. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Lets get started...
Don’t live in the past
What this does not mean?
Paul tells us that if we want to be focused on our growth we must “forget the past”. Obviously Paul is not telling us to literally not remember anything.
Of course we should remember who we were before Christ found us. We should also remember the times we have seen God’s faithfulness in our lives. We need to remember the mistakes we've made so that we can avoid them in the future. We cannot forget our past experiences (good or bad) as they are a part of us. But we can choose to forgive any wrongs that have been committed against us.
Paul is also not telling us that we don’t have to fulfill the responsibilities of the past. If we have wronged someone we should try to make it right. If we have stolen from someone we should make restitution. If we have a problem with someone we should seek to be reconciled.
What it does mean?
He is telling us that we can’t and must not live in the past. What happened in the past is past and we must keep going forward.
There are two reasons we need to forget the past:
1. We have a tendency to fixate on the past. We hold on to some bad experience and it will become an anchor that weighs us down. We remember an old hurt that happened a long time ago and we let it eat away at us. We remember times when we failed at something and vow to never try again. How we deal with the painful times of the past determine how we live in the present. We must learn from the pain and then move on. What God has forgiven should never be taken as a burden again.
2. We tend to be satisfied with the past. We will replay the past victories and be content to remember instead of continuing to push ahead. This happens to many people. Paul determined that he would not rest on past accomplishments but always look forward to what yet needed to be done. There are Christians who are always talking about the great times of faith in the past. They talk about how intimate their relationship with Christ WAS. It is all past tense. We must forget the past and focus on the present.
Be intentional about your Spiritual growth:
Paul tells us that he “presses on”. This is the same word that was used in verse 6 when Paul talked about his zealous persecution of the early church. It is with that same kind of intensity that Paul pursues God’s plan for his life. Paul also says "this one thing I do". He is single-minded. Paul was not distracted. He was clear where he was headed.
What does it mean to “press on”? It means to concentrate, to stretch forward and to literally strain toward the goal. The image is like that of running in a race. This is the image Paul uses for his desire to grow spiritually.
Growth will not happen if we are haphazard about our spiritual life. We must be diligent! To be diligent means to:
- making time for God in our schedule
- finding time to thoughtfully read the Bible
- planning for times of prayer
- making worship and service a priority in our calendars
- doing a regular and honest spiritual evaluation of our lives regularly
- turning away from some worldly pursuits
- pushing ourselves to study and read for growth
- and daring to reach beyond what is always comfortable and safe
We will close here for today and next week we will discuss how to "keep our eyes on the goal". Thank you for joining me and see you next week. Have a blessed day and week.